Elementary Schoolers
Bullies & Cyber Bullying
Behavior Problems
Classroom-Student Behavior
Extracurricular Activities
Internet & Technology
Kids Health & Safety
Parenting Styles & Skills
Peer Pressure
Positive Discipline
Sibling Rivalry
Sleepovers & Bedtime

Helping Your Child Make Friends

It's said that the only way to have a friend is to be one. Easier said than done when you're in elementary school. Friendship for kids is a fickle and evolving thing. When they're toddlers, a child's friend might best be described as whoever happens to be playing next to them at the moment. As they begin elementary school, their concept of friendship has evolved a bit, but who their friends are can still change from week to week, even day to day.

Making Friends Can Be Difficult at School

It can be hard figuring out if your child is making friends at school. Unless a classmate lives close by, you might be unaware of those friendships. Whether your child is invited to birthday parties or sleepovers or invites other children to your house can be an indicator of whether he or she has friends or not. Sometimes, simply asking about their friends at school can yield answers. Since so much of a child's time is spent in school, your child's teacher is a good place to start if you suspect he or she is having trouble making friends. Ask the teacher about your child's friendships, how well your child interacts with others, and if any behavior like being bossy or aggressive has hurt in making friendships. Does your child have trouble cooperating or pitch a fit when a classmate beats him at a game? The teacher might help create opportunities for friendship by:

  • Encouraging your child to sit with children that have common interests.
  • Encouraging after-school activities that provide additional time for your child to be with classmates.

Parents can encourage their children to participate in activities like:

  • Youth sports such as soccer, baseball, tennis, or martial arts.
  • Learning activities such as music, art lessons, dance, or chess.
  • Kids clubs such as Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, or church groups.

Create opportunities for your child to make friends by having a birthday party, a sleepover, going out for pizza, etc. You can learn a lot by watching your child socializing with their peers. It may be that your child simply hasn't had enough opportunities to form friendships, but it may be his social skills as well.